Cleanup begins on back-to-back NW Side fires, causes still under investigation

Thursday, June 20, 2024
Cleanup begins on back-to-back NW Side fires
As neighbors speculate about what caused two back-to-back commercial fires near each other on the Northwest Side, clean up began in earnest Thursday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Daylight Thursday revealed the true devastation of a massive fire that gutted a Northwest Side commercial hub that housed several businesses.

Crews began the task of cleaning up what was left of several establishments, including a construction office, landscaper, auto battery supplier and body shop. As demolition began on the falling facades, efforts began to restore electricity to the area without power since the fire.

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Jose Torres' restaurant, Taco el Jalisciense, has been closed since Wednesday night due to those power outages.

"The guys that were working in there, one told me he was working in one corner when he saw the fire and brought the hose and the fire went up and he got burned," Torres said. "He has no idea what happened."

Chicago fire officials said the fire broke out at 2810 West Grand Avenue around 6 p.m. in a T-shaped building.

Tracee Pristera works at Four Seasons Global Import Company next door and took photos of the blaze just as firefighters arrived.

"The whole sky was black. The wind was kind of blowing the smoke that way. I've never seen a fire like that before so it was a little terrifying," she said.

Approximately 200 firefighters responded to the scene. The fire was out by 8:30 p.m.

Not even a day earlier, another massive fire engulfed a pallet yard in West Town, less than a mile away at Leavitt and Hubbard. It was completely destroyed.

No one was injured in either fire.

While there's plenty of neighborhood speculation about what caused both fires, officials said the causes of both blazes remain under investigation.